Student Health Services


During college you will have many opportunities to meet people from all over the world and develop lifelong relationships. It’s important to know how to create healthy communication, boundaries and recognize unhealthy relationships.

Healthy Communication

Healthy communication is open, honest and safe, and is a key to any healthy relationship. The following tips can help you maintain healthy communication I

  • Speak up: if something is bothering you, say something. It’s tempting to keep things to avoid confrontation and keep things to yourself. In the long run, small annoyances often turn into larger issues. Use “I” statements, to express your feelings. For example, “I felt hurt after you didn’t show up when we planned and you didn’t call to let me know.”
  • Respect other person’s opinion: it’s easy to say that we respect people but it’s much harder to do so when it’s affecting us personally. Other people’s wishes and feelings have value, and so do yours. Use reflective statements to summarize what your partner has said. For example, “You’re angry that I left the kitchen a mess after I said I’d clean it this weekend.” This will show them that you’re listening and it will prevent any miscommunication.
  • Compromise: whether you’re trying to agree with your roommates on whose turn it is to clean the kitchen or trying to find a way to balance your time with friends and school, you’ll inevitably have to compromise on many things. It’s important to identify the most important things you want to get out of any relationship, activity or event. Talking about it with others can help you will ensure you aren’t giving too much and receiving too little in return.
  • Build Support system: Having someone to talk to when you’re not feeling great is very important. Establishing a system of support ensures you can have a great college experience. But it’s also equally important to offer reassurance and support to others when they need it.

Healthy Boundaries

Healthy boundaries help you and your partner understand what you want out of your relationship to feel secure. This will ensure that you know what your partner and you can expect from each other. These same principles are important for friendships, romantic relationships and relationships between family members.  

Healthy Relationship Boosters

Every relationship can get a bit stale or create a feeling of disconnect between people. It’s a good idea to have hobbies and interests that can help you meet new people or spend some quality alone time. Spending time away can energizing so you can be more engaged with people around you. Another good way to boost relationships is to find common interests that all parties enjoy. It can be as simple as watching favorite movies, going for a hike, or going out for dinner. Talking about feelings can also create a sense of connectedness and bring people closer together.

Long Distance Relationships

More Information: 

Conflict Resolution Center at St. Cloud State

Psych Central: 10 Ways to Build Better Boundaries

Go Ask Alice!

Unhealthy Relationships

For a relationship to be healthy and happy, all parties must be treated with respect and have equal power to make decisions. Unhealthy relationships are based on one person demanding more control and power over the other. There are different types of abuse: verbal, emotional, physical and psychological. Sometimes the abuse can be subtle.

 A person may:

  • Try to separate you from people you’re close to
  • Jealous of other people even if they’re just your friends or family
  • Check your phone, email, social media without your permission
  • Make fun of you, your interests, hobbies, and friends
  • Tell you want you can’t or can’t do (what you can wear, where you can go, who you can spent time with)
  • Change mood frequently (gets angered easily, over small things, then becomes apologetic and remorseful)
  • Physically hurt you in any way (even if they say it was accidental)
  • Verbally, physically forcing you to have sex

If you think your relationship with someone is unhealthy please consider your safety and wellbeing. You are not required for any reason to stay in contact with that person. Connect with people you feel comfortable with, and seek help from Saint Cloud State University.


Having Relationship Concerns?